The Optimists

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Spring 2022 course now open for applications!

China Plate’s unique training opportunity for emerging artists, creative practitioners, and aspiring producers.

“The knowledge, guidance, and resources (given) over the complete course are simply amazing. I have grown as an artist, producer, and all-round theatre-maker, and learned a plethora of transferable skills along the way.” – Optimists Alumni

Are you an emerging artist, creative practitioner or aspiring producer hoping to develop your skills as a professional producer, or as a producer of your own work, in the subsidised arts sector?

The Optimists course offers an introduction to the craft of producing professional theatre and arts projects and de-mystifies the financial, administrative and organisational aspects of producing. Drawing on China Plate’s extensive experience, the Optimists provides knowledge and insight on the practicalities of making, funding, touring and promoting your work.

“The Optimists is invaluable for anyone wanting to navigate the arts industry. I have learned more than I could imagine possible and met so many inspiring (and very useful!) contacts.”Optimist Alumni.

The course is led by China Plate, with the support of guest industry experts and speakers.

Applications are now open for our Spring course, which will run from 7th February – 30th March 2022. Please visit our Opportunities page for more information.

If you need any help with your application or would like more information, please refer to our FAQ’s (available in our downloads section below) or email

ACE Lottery Funded logo, reads 'Supported using public funding by Arts Council England'

The Optimists Spring 2022 Online Course

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Applications are now OPEN for The Optimists online course

Dates: 7th February – 30th March 2022

The Spring 2022 Optimists is being delivered online. The course is suitable for emerging producers, administrators, artists, creative practitioners, etc who are hoping to develop their skills as a professional producer, or as a producer of their own work, in the subsidised arts sector.

The Optimists is comprised of ten x3 hour online sessions, taking place over x 8 weeks for 20 participants*.

The course cost is £360 (inclusive of VAT).

Bursaries covering the cost of the course will be available to those who have faced racism, discrimination and/or cultural barriers due to their ethnicity, disability, D/deafness, gender identity or socio-economic background.

Topics will include:

  • New ideas and how to articulate them
  • Expenditure
  • Income
  • Fundraising: including Arts Council England, trusts and foundations and other sources
  • Administration: budgets, contracts, company setup & general management
  • Working inclusively and Access
  • Audiences and how to reach them
  • Venues: getting through door

Deadline for applications closes at 10am on Wednesday 5th January 2022

Please visit our Opportunities page for more information, including details on how to apply.

*x7 of the 20 places have been reserved for the Shoot Festival Assistant Producers.

Image: The 2018 Optimists cohort